Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier with European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, with European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

Yesterday, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier met with European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager to discuss a number of current issues surrounding competition policy, competition law and energy policy.

A particular focus was placed on the provisions set out in the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) on CHP installations that are used by operators to generate electricity for their own consumption (installations that came on stream starting 1 August 2014). By December 2017, no decision had been taken by the Commission, which had increased the urgency for a clarification of the issue in order to provide affected companies with sufficient legal certainty. Yesterday, an agreement in principle – which is subject to a final assessment and decision by the European Commission – was reached:

  • New CHP installations generating less than 1 MW or more than 10 MW will continue to pay the reduced rate of 40% of the EEG surcharge.
  • All new CHP installations used by energy-intensive industrial companies will also pay 40% of the EEG surcharge.
  • All other new CHP installations will continue to pay 40% of the EEG surcharge, provided that the installations in question run for less than 3,500 hours of full use per year. Installations running longer than will have to pay a higher percentage of the EEG surcharge, depending on the extent to which they are used. If they run for more than 7,000 hours, they will have to pay 100% of the EEG surcharge.
  • New CHP installations that were built between 1 August 2014 and the end of 2017 will benefit from transitional rules up until 2019 or 2020.
  • The agreement will be applied retroactively, and is effective beginning 1 January 2018.

Said Federal Minister Altmaier: “I have worked with EU Commissioner Vestager in the past and I am delighted that my new role as Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy allows me to pick up on this good cooperation. In our meeting yesterday, we were able to reach a good solution on the issue of CHP installations that are used by operators to generate electricity for their own consumption. This is an important result that benefits German companies. We also agreed to continue to engage in close dialogue on a regular basis. Open and substantive talks that are based on trust are the key for mastering the great challenges we are currently facing, including in the area of industrial policy, global trade and international competitiveness.”

Mr Altmaier announced that he would be paying a return visit to Brussels soon.